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For the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau classified as urban, all territory, population, and housing units located within urbanized areas (UAs) and urban clusters (UCs), both defined using the same criteria.  The Census Bureau delineates UA and UC boundaries that represent densely developed territory, encompassing residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. In general, this territory consists of areas of high population density and urban land use resulting in a representation of the “urban footprint.” Rural consists of all territory, population, and housing units located outside of UAs and UCs.


For the 2010 Census the urban and rural classification was applied to the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Per agreements with the Island Areas, minor modifications to the classification were implemented when applied to American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Urbanized Areas (UAs)—An urbanized area consists of densely developed territory that contains 50,000 or more people.  The Census Bureau delineates UAs to provide a better separation of urban and rural territory, population, and housing in the vicinity of large places.  The Census Bureau first introduced the urbanized area concept for the 1950 Census.

Urban Clusters (UCs)—An urban cluster consists of densely developed territory that has at least

2,500 people but fewer than 50,000 people.  The Census Bureau first introduced the UC concept for Census 2000 to provide a more consistent and accurate measure of urban population, housing, and territory throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas.  Based on agreements with Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all qualifying urban areas are identified as urban clusters regardless of their final population counts.  Thus urban clusters may exceed 50,000 people in these areas.

Urban Area Titles and Codes—The title of each UA and UC may contain up to three incorporated place or census designated place (CDP) names, and will include the two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviation for each state or statistically equivalent entity into which the UA or UC extends.  However, if the UA or UC does not contain an incorporated place or CDP, the urban area title will include the single name of a minor civil division or populated place recognized by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System.


Each UC and UA is assigned a 5-digit numeric code, based on a national alphabetical sequence of all urban area names.  A separate flag is included in data tabulation files to differentiate between UAs and UCs. In printed reports, this differentiation is included in the name.


Relationship to Other Geographic Entities— Geographic entities, such as metropolitan areas, counties, minor civil divisions (MCDs), places, and census tracts often contain both urban and rural territory, population, and housing units.


Urban Area (UA) National Shapefile (2010 Census)
UACE105String2010 Census urban area code
GEOID105String2010 Census urban area identifier, 2010 Census urban area code
NAME10100String2010 Census urban area name
NAMELSAD10100String2010 Census name and the translated legal/statistical area description for urban area
LSAD102String2010 Census legal/statistical area description code for urban area
MTFCC105StringMAF/TIGER feature class code (G3500)
UATYP101String2010 Census urban area type
FUNCSTAT101String2010 Census functional status
ALAND1014Number2010 Census land area
AWATER1014Number2010 Census water area
INTPTLAT1011String2010 Census latitude of the internal point
INTPTLON1012String2010 Census longitude of the internal point

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